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It is becoming increasingly more common to use an emulator as a means of using older computer systems, without needing to clutter up your desk space.  In recent years, the QL has spawned many emulators working on various computer platforms.

Thanks to Dilwyn Jones, we are able to supply a CD-ROM packed with every Sinclair QL emulator that we have been able to find, together with a wide range of public domain QL software for only £5 (including UK p+p). As many of these emulators are available from the authors' web pages, this enables you to first try them from the CD, then download more recent versions from the Web where these are available. The CD-ROM is packed with various emulators (public domain, shareware and demo versions of commercial emulators) to allow you to run software written for the Sinclair QL on the following computers and operating systems:
Windows 9x/NT/XP, DOS, Linux, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Unix and Apple Mac/PowerMac

The CD includes the following to allow you to use this straight out of the packet:

  • copies of Sinclair QL ROMs and Minerva ROM
  • various manuals (including the original Sinclair QL manual)
  • Toolkit II, DIY Toolkit and some Public Domain toolkits
  • Turbo BASIC compiler
  • ESC/P and PCL Printer documentation
  • A selection of public domain software and demo versions of commercial programs

All emulators are fully working, although there is one demo emulator which does not allow saving (QPC), and one shareware emulator which runs much slower than the registered version. All emulators are able to read QL formatted disks and copy the files onto the native computer's hard-disk. QPC2 even allows you to access files on the native computer's hard disk.

With a host of public domain software available on the internet and commercial software available on disk, this is the only QL computer you will ever need.

The CD-ROM is now also available to North American customers at a price of £6 plus post and packing, subject to a £1 royalty per copy being paid to the ROM copyright holders in North America.

If you have never heard of the Sinclair QL before, give this web site a browse and try out the emulators - there is still a large active user group for QL computers (Quanta) with members in countries around the world. There is a large QL community, lots of public domain and commercial software, a dedicated magazine (QL-Today) and even a QL users discussion list.

If you used to own a QL and have not used it for some time, why not consider returning to the QL? It has made great strides forward in recent years with both new QL compatible hardware such as the Q40 and Q60 computers (also an attractive Linux platform), Super Gold Card 68020 add-on and a range of good quality emulators.


Written by Jan Venema in the Netherlands, this emulator is freeware. While fairly basic in some respects, it is nonetheless a creditable effort and apart from the benefit of being free, it is available in versions for DOS, Linux and Windows. Visit QLay Web Site


Written by Jimmy Montesinos in France, this emulator is postcardware (free registration) and based on QLAY. While fairly basic in some respects, it is nonetheless a creditable effort and has been updated to ensure that it will work under Windows 2000 and Windows XP (should also work on other Windows implementations). Visit QL2K Web Site


Daniele Terdina's QL emulator for Windows and for the Apple Macintosh and Powerbooks. This is a shareware program. Cheaper than QPC2, a considerable amount of care and effort has gone into this software.  Visit Q-emuLator Web Site.


Unlike most other emulators, this one is is based on the SMSQ/E version of the QL's operating system as the engine for this emulator. Generally considered to be the best and fastest of the current crop of software QL emulators, it is a former commercial product, made freeware in 2016.

QPC2 is designed for use with Windows 95/98/NT and recent versions have included the fabled "colour drivers" allowing 16 bit colour support and the facility to run in a window under Windows! Visit Author's web-site (from where you can download the full version) or Visit the Publisher's QPC2 web-site.


An add on board for a PC, a plug in ISA card, which adds a 68040 based QL platform and using the SMSQ variant of the QL's operating system. SMSQ/E (the version with built in pointer environment) is also available as an optional extra (well worth it). Being a hardware emulator, it is faster than most of the software-based emulators, although independent of the PC's hardware speed, so the software emulators may catch up as PC hardware gets ever faster. The PC must have an ISA slot for this emulator card to work, and these are becoming increasingly rare on modern PCs.


One of the original QL emulators, written by Rainer Kowallik of Berlin, this emulator for the Commodore Amiga provides a good platform for running QDOS programs on the Amiga. Maintained nowadays by Mark Swift, this is a well respected emulator and widely used, although partly superceded by QDOS Classic (see below).Visit Web Site.

QDOS Classic

Available in two versions, one for the Amiga and one for the Q40, this QDOS based emulator from Mark Swift is well respected and still supported. Available from most Aminet sites. Visit Web Site

ST-QL Emulator

This hardware-based emulator of the Sinclair QL was originally produced in Norway by Futura Datasenter, but is now sold by Jochen Merz Software in Germany. Still available and widely used (especially in Germany) several versions of this emulator have been produced and most can run either QDOS or SMSQ/E. Visit Web Site


Richard Zidlicky's QL emulator for Unix/Linux/Sun type platforms. Originally written as a freeware program, based on Daniele Terdina's QemuLator sources. Well respected by QLers who are also into Linux. Visit Web Site


Software based QL emulator for some Atari STs written by Johan Kocklars. Not that widely used these days Visit Web Site.

QL Emulators CD Only £5 including UK post and packing

     Page Last Updated 3/1/05)